Nerd Blurbs: Knowledge Edition

Despite the problems that WordPress was experiencing earlier today, we live in a magical age where information is at our fingertips, capable of being accessed at a moment’s notice. Almost anything I want to know can be found in the annals of the Internet, and it’s getting closer to it being anything at all. We bring to you three stories that broke today that deal with the dissemination of knowledge.

iBooks May Be Cheaper than Initially Expected

Just in time to make you forget the iBook laptop.

Way more functional than the iBook laptop.

As the New York Times article succinctly states, the proposed figures of $12.99 to $14.99 for books sold through their iBook Store are merely caps for new releases – once a book reaches bestseller status (or has been on the market a while, presumably), the price will theoretically drop. The article also discusses briefly, but not in great length or explanation, as to how hardcover editions in a digital format would be priced – frankly, to me, the idea is ridiculous: granted a hardcover book is printed and bound with more durable materials, but in a digital format? How can you charge more for that edition? The publishers see that their usefulness is growing wane and hence are seeking to draw out their fees as much as possible. Which brings us to our next point:

World’s Most Complete Library Sways in Wind

Magic the Gathering's Library of Alexandria

Like this, only more magical, because you don't need to put on pants to peruse its shelves.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in New York holds the fate of the Google Library, what promises to be the most complete public library every constructed, in his honorable courtroom, according to Business Week. Google and several publishers have been encouraging a settlement of $125 million (to whom?!?) to allow for its continued compilation and availability. Standing opposed to the action by Google are Amazon, Microsoft, AT&T, Germany, and France, who all think that making these books available online would lead to a sharp decrease in sales and would infringe on the author’s copyrights; they also site how Google keeps tabs on all its customers and that your personal reads will be analyzed and marketed at. Don’t you feel so much safer that Amazon and Microsoft and all the rest really care about us?

This of course is a load of steaming stegosaurus turds. Firstly, Google is not planning on making all the information available for free – their goal is to upload the information and give people access to portions of the book, so, like in a real bookstore, you can have a sample of the work before buckling down and buying the thing; Barnes & Noble is tough, but they’ve never charged anyone for flipping through the pages. Secondly, Google has strict guidelines for how user information is stored and used, and frankly, if the Google bots can discern what I like from what I read, I’m all for it; I’d prefer to see ads for George R.R. Martin books than Twilight books any day.

WISE Eyes It All

Stellar Chaos

If the clouds are last night's bean burrito, the inset are the seeds from the hot pepper - smallest but spiciest.

NASA released the first images taken from the WISE array currently attempting to capture the entire sky. As the WISE apparatus sees in infrared instead of in the visual spectrum, these images actually show a different image than the universe is normally seen in. Take the inset picture, which shows a cluster of stars in the middle of a gas cloud taken by the Hubble telescope – it resides in the center of the cloud seen above, which is portrayed Predator-style and shows what is normally invisible to us, the energy being emitted from the center of the galaxy.  Thankfully NASA’s not involved in all this proprietary nonsense and can just post its discoveries without worrying that someone’s going to steal their image. Click the link for all the photos that have been released.

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Filed under Literary, Nature, Nerd Blurbs, News

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